I’ve noticed quite a bit of outdated and misleading COVID-19 information posted on Twitter.
For example, take the following tweet:
I don’t know who Summer Brennan is. I don’t follow her. She has a blue check next to her name, so she must be important. Her tweet just showed up in my timeline. She claimed in her tweet that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 stops the transmission of the virus. This is not true. Ever since Delta showed up, even people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 get infected and pass the virus to others.
Before there was Delta
Before the Delta variant reared its ugly head, the general consensus was that the chances vaccinated people were so minuscule, fully vaccinated people could go back to living a normal life. They no longer needed to mask up in public. They could begin attending public functions where large groups of people attended. This became one of the selling points on getting vaccinated. If you get fully vaccinated, the pandemic would all but be over for you.
That didn’t last very long.
Once upon a time in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
In July 2021, multiple large public events were held in a Barnstable County, Massachusetts town. There were a total of 469 Massachusetts residents who attended events in the town that tested positive for COVID-19. Of those 469 people, 346 (74%) of them were fully vaccinated. People getting COVID-19 were infected with the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The outbreak in Barnstable County taught us the Delta variant is more easily transmissible, much more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus. Delta is so transmissible, even fully vaccinated people are not immune from contracting it and spreading it to others. It’s why the CDC changed its recommendations concerning vaccinated people wearing masks.
The article Summer Brennan linked to was published on April 21, long before the outbreak in Barnstable County.
Although it’s important we encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s not wise to rely on outdated information promising things that are no longer true. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 doesn’t make you impervious to the virus. If you are fully vaccinated, you can still get COVID-19 and you can still infect others.
The good news is fully vaccinated people are a lot less likely to require hospitalization if they contract COVID-19. Here in Washington County, Maryland, we currently have 37 people hospitalized for COVID-19. Of that number, 32 of them are unvaccinated.
People need to exercise more care when posting information on social media about COVID-19. They need to make sure what they are posting is still relevant. Summer Brennan failed to do that. If people are going to act irresponsibly with what they share, maybe Twitter needs to post a warning when someone shares an old, possibly outdated article about COVID-19.